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How Strobe Effect Warnings Could Be Improved

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I love watching movies and television shows. Honestly, they’re what get me through those all-nighters when painsomnia won’t let me sleep. If you live with photosensitivity or seizure disorders, then you are all too aware of the pre-show warning about “strobe effects” that “can or may occur” during the program. You may remember last year when a viral tweet led Disney to include a (much needed) warning ahead of the “Incredibles 2” movie.

While I am very thankful I was given a warning, I end up sitting on the edge of my seat, eyes squinted, anxiety building waiting for this “strobe effect” to flash across the screen. The warning is supposed to ease the viewer so  they are not startled by the flashing lights. A nice thought, but not really super helpful. The biggest thing these pre-show warnings are missing is when the flashing will occur.

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Ideally, one day I would like to have movies that offer versions without the strobing and instead have a closed captioning-style notification that tells you what lighting effect would have been happening on screen. I know it’s never going to happen, but a girl can dream, right?

Alternatively, I would love for shows to keep the opening warning as is, and add a text box in the corner of the screen that alerts you to avert your eyes a few moments before the strobe lighting will occur. It’s a very simple addition to help out a huge number of people who otherwise may not be able to watch the program. Unless you’re a fan of “Stranger Things” — that entire show is one big strobe effect!

Getty image by Kynny.

Originally published: July 22, 2019
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